Saturday, March 17, 2018

Six aspects of Surrender to God


1. To desire only in accordance with the desire of God. By nature, we are his servants, and the duty of a servant is to fulfill the desire of the master. So as surrendered devotees of God, we must make our will conform to the will of God.

 A dry leaf is surrendered to the wind. It does not complain whether the wind lifts it up, takes it forward or backward, or drops it to the ground. Similarly, we too must learn to be happy in the happiness of God.


2. Not to desire against the desire of God. Whatever we get in life is a result of our past and present karmas. However, the fruits of the karmas do not come by themselves. God notes them and gives the results at the appropriate time. Since the results are dispensed by God himself, we must learn to serenely accept them.

Usually, when people get wealth, fame, pleasure, and luxuries in the world, they forget to thank God. However, if they get suffering, they blame God for it, "Why did God do this to me?" The second aspect of surrender means to not complain about whatever God gives us.

3. To have firm faith that God is protecting us. God is the eternal father. He is taking care of all the living beings in creation. There are trillions of ants on the planet earth, and all of them need to eat regularly. Do you ever find that a few thousand ants in your garden have died of starvation? God ensures that they are all provided for. On the other hand, elephants eat mounds of food every day. God provides for them too. Even a worldly father cares and provides for his children. Why then should we doubt whether our eternal father, God, will take care of us or not? To have firm faith in his protection is the third aspect of surrender.

4. To keep an attitude of gratitude toward God. We have received so many priceless gifts from the Lord. The earth that we walk upon, the sunlight with which we see, the air that we breathe and the water that we drink, are all given to us by God. In fact, it is because of Him that we exist; He has brought us to life and imparted consciousness in our soul. We are not paying Him any tax in return, but we must at least feel deeply indebted for all that He has given to us. This is the sentiment of gratitude.

The reverse of this is the sentiment of ungratefulness. For example, a father does so much for his child. The child is told to be grateful to his father for this. But the child responds, "Why should I be grateful? His father took care of him and he is taking care of me." This is ingratitude toward the worldly father. To be grateful toward God, our eternal Father, for all that He has given to us, is the fourth aspect of surrender.

5. To see everything we possess as belonging to God. This entire world has been created by God. It existed even before we were born, and will continue to exist even after we die. Hence, the true owner of everything is God alone. When we think something belongs to us, we forget the proprietorship of God.

Let us say that someone comes into your house when you are not at home. He wears your clothes, eats out of your refrigerator, and sleeps on your bed. On returning, you ask indignantly, "What have you been doing in my house?"

 He says, "I have not damaged anything. I have merely used everything properly. Why are you getting annoyed?" 

 You reply, "You may not have destroyed anything, but it all belongs to me. If you use it without my permission, you are a thief." 

 Similarly, this world and everything in it belongs to God. To remember this, and give up our sense of proprietorship is the fifth aspect of Surrender.

6. To give up the pride of having surrendered. If we become proud of the good deeds that we have done, the pride dirties our heart and undoes the good. That is why it is important to keep an attitude of humbleness: "If I was able to do something nice, it was only because God inspired my intellect in the right direction. Left to myself, I would never have been able to do it." To keep such an attitude of humility is the sixth aspect of surrender.

If we can perfect these six points of surrender in ourselves, we will fulfill God's condition and he will bestow his grace upon us.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Spiritual Sadhana: Make it Your Top Priority



Practicing spiritual sadhana is just as important as exercising every day. But we all know how much people struggle to stick to their exercise regimens. A sudden bout of inspiration to become fit and healthy is followed by a few days of excited visits to the gym and then both the energy and inspiration plummet. People experience the same with spiritual sadhana, they practice it for a few days and then start finding excuses about how difficult it is for them to find the time. Lack of time is undoubtedly the biggest excuse quoted by everyone.

Office hours, household chores, social commitments, etc. are so high on priority on our daily to-do lists that it's almost impossible to squeeze in even a few minutes for sadhana. Most of us in such a scenario would simply leave the matter to God's grace, "We will do sadhana when God will grace us". But the fact of the matter is that we don't need God's grace here. He has already graced us with a human form and an opportunity to associate with a Guru and do satsang. All that is left to be done now is that we grace ourselves with some time to do sadhana.

God has given us 24 hours, now we need to utilize a portion of those 24 hours for the elevation of our own soul. For the sake of the body, we run around 24 hrs. a day. This body has no value when the soul departs, it is worthy of being devoured by jackals and vultures. 
                                                                                 
For the sake of that body we have 24 hours but for the elevation of our own soul, we find it difficult to take out time. So the truth is that any person who says that he/she doesn't have time to do sadhana is judging wrongly. It is not that we don't have time; we have simply not made spiritual sadhana a priority in our lives. When we will decide that spirituality is a top priority in life, we will automatically take out time.

Let us look at how we spend our time through a popular management tool called the Action Priority Matrix (or Time Management Matrix). This tool uses 4 quadrants to determine the tasks you need to do and then deciding what should be made a priority.


Time Management Matrix


According to the tool, there are some issues in our life that are both urgent and important like an unplanned business meeting (See quadrant 1). Then there are some things that need not be done urgently but they are important. Some common examples are exercising, reading books, and spiritual sadhana (See quadrant 2). Then there are activities that are urgent but not really important like a phone call or somebody dropping by, etc. (See quadrant 3). Finally, there are activities that are neither important nor urgent, they are simple time wasters and should be immediately eliminated. Examples are net surfing, watching T.V, gossiping, etc. (See quadrant 4).

This tool can be used to organize your priorities on an everyday basis. Make a list of all the things you do in a day and on the basis of priority put them in their respective quadrants. Now calculate the total time you are spending in each of the quadrants. You will realize that you may be spending maximum part of your day in quadrant 1, 3 or 4. This means you are foregoing things that will ultimately matter to you, things that are important but don't seem urgent. You are so busy dealing with urgent or unimportant issues that you have no time for spiritual sadhana.

Stephen Covey in his book 'First Things First' popularized this concept of 'Time Management Matrix' and emphasized that if people want to lead fulfilling lives in the long-term, they must invest more time in quadrant 2. People must look at ways to expand quadrant 2, so that they can achieve their long-term goals and do things that really matter. And what is our long-term goal?

Our goal is to purify our mind and attain the goal of God-realization. And we will attain that goal by making spiritual sadhana a top priority in our lives. We may feel spending some time exclusively with God is not urgent, but remember, it is certainly the most important. Irrespective of the other urgent issues in life which will come and go, take out at least 1 hour every day for spiritual sadhana. Without wasting any more time, firmly resolve that in the year 2018 you will make spiritual sadhana your top priority.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

The Importance of Daily Spiritual Sadhana


Most people today realize the importance of taking out some time every day for physical workout. Even out of most hectic schedules, people manage to allocate some time every day for yoga, walks, or the gym. People today have become aware of the need for exercising the body. Given our sedentary lifestyles, if we don't set aside some time for physical workout, we will have to pay a heavy price in the form of diseases like obesity, diabetes, etc.

That is all about maintaining our physical health, but what about our mental and spiritual health? All day long, we spend time in the worldly environment where the world pulls us in love and hatred, hankering, lamentation, tension, anxiety, and stress. We seldom realize that the worldly environment gradually takes a toll on us and impacts our wellbeing. We must do something to keep our mind in good health. This is akin to the physical workout we do to maintain our body.

Therefore, you must do something on a daily basis to shut the world out, so that you have just one focus and that is to purify the mind. Now, how will the mind be purified? After all, to purify the mind, we must fix it on an object of meditation that is pure. But the material realm is dominated by the three modes of nature - sattva, rajas and tamas (goodness, passion and ignorance) and is hence impure. Therefore, if the object of meditation is from the material realm, it cannot purify the mind.

We will have to go beyond the material realm, in the divine realm of God - His Names, Forms, Virtues, Abodes, Pastimes, and Saints. If we fix our mind anywhere in this area, it will become pure. This is what Shree Krishna instructed Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita:

"I am divine. If you fix your mind on me, it will rise above the three modes of Maya."

If you take out time every day to fill your mind with thoughts of devotion, surrender, and love to God, it can be called your personal practice of spiritual sadhana. Just like by exercising for 1 hr in a day you reap the benefits of good health all through the day, similarly by practicing spiritual sadhana for some time in a day, you will reap the benefits of a spiritual consciousness throughout the day.

Shree Krishna also says in the Bhagavad Gita that we must do sadhana in isolation. Understand this through an example. If you take milk and put it in water, milk and water become one. But if you wish the milk to remain separate from water, you can convert it into yogurt and then churn it to extract butter. Once milk becomes butter it can challenge the water, "I will sit on your head and float, you cannot mix into me, as I am no longer milk." Similarly, separate from the world - away from television, people, etc., you can convert your mind into butter and then challenge the water, "you cannot do anything to me."

While doing spiritual sadhana, the position or asan does not really matter, however it is advised to keep your back erect so that you don't feel lazy. Sit in any comfortable position and take your mind away from the world and attach it to God. The focus will come with practice, but what is important is that we make this sadhana a part of our daily routine. We all appreciate the importance of doing daily spiritual sadhana, but the biggest challenge lies in putting it into practice.

Can we in the year 2018 resolve firmly to dedicate some time every day for spiritual sadhana?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

God resides in all creatures



   We assume that we are all alone and that nobody knows what we are thinking. A man thinks against his wife while sitting next to her because he is confident that she cannot read his thoughts. However, we forget a very important point. Our thoughts are never completely private.

 Sitting in our heart, God takes note of each and every thought and gives us the fruit of that thought. In our false confidence of privacy, we commit many offenses and throw away the benefits of the devotional practice. On one hand we cry and on the other hand, we commit many wrongful actions.

 It will take some amount of practice to remember that God is living inside us. Make it a habit to realize Him in your heart 24x7. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Advice for Daily Living


1. Always chant 'Radhey' with every breath and visualize the divine form of God and Guru.

2. Do not speak unnecessarily or listen to senseless conversations. You have engaged in meaningless conversations in countless past lives. Now you should save your energy and channel it towards fulfilling the ultimate aim of life.

3. Do not have any ill feelings towards those who speak ill of you. Keep in mind that you are not perfect. If someone points out one of your mistakes, why feel unhappy or angry? After all, he is speaking the truth.

4. Eat simple food, not spicy. One quarter of the stomach should remain empty after the meal. Meat, Eggs, alcohol and tobacco are completely forbidden for devotees.

5. Do not sleep more than 5-6 hours. Make use of every waking minute in devotion to God.

6. Keep your surroundings clean.

7. Spend ten minutes every night reflecting on the mistakes you made during the day. Then be determined to not make the same mistakes again.

8. Serve your Guru, accepting God and Guru to be one and same.

9. Your mind is your biggest enemy. Do not listen to it. Always follow the path as directed by your Guru.

10. If any of the above rules are broken, ask for forgiveness from God and Guru and shed tears of repentance. Remember not to repeat the mistake in the future.   

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Working for the pleasure of God


Hobbies are things we do passionately in our free time for fun. People of all ages have their favorite hobbies that they like to invest their time in because it gives them happiness, relaxation and an opportunity to learn. Considering how much we enjoy engaging in our hobbies, is there a way we can make them a part of our spiritual growth?


Shree Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita said:


          यत्करोषि यदश्नासि यज्जुहोषि ददासि यत् |
             यत्तपस्यसि कौन्तेय तत्कुरुष्व मदर्पणम् || 27||

 "Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer as oblation to the sacred fire, whatever you bestow as a gift, and whatever austerities you perform, O son of Kunti, do them as an offering to me." (Bhagavad Gita 9.27)


This implies that whatever activity we perform, we should mentally offer it to God. Now, whenever we perform any activity there are 2 aspects to it:

 1) The external activity we do.
 2) Our internal attitude towards it. 

We could perform the same mundane activity with different consciousness and that makes all the difference. If an activity is performed by a worldly-minded person to increase his own comfort, wealth or fame, he gets bound by both good and bad karmic reactions. His karmic reactions result in his continuity in the cycle of life and death. Whereas, if a spiritually minded person performs the same activity for the pleasure of his beloved Lord, he renounces selfishness. Thus he is freed from the fretters of good and bad results.

A person who dedicates all his actions in the service to God becomes united in consciousness with God. Such a yogi becomes liberated in consciousness even in this body. And, upon leaving his mortal frame, receives a divine body and eternal service in the divine abode of God.

Thus by simply changing our internal attitude toward everything we do, we can reap great spiritual benefits. By transforming our internal attitude, we can transform even the mundane activities of material life into divine service of God. Therefore, let's take a step towards this transformation by dedicating all our hobbies to God. Earlier we engaged in our hobbies because it made us happy; now let us do them so that we can make the Lord happy.

Friday, October 6, 2017

It's time you take charge of your Destiny!


It is true that we are born with a destiny but is it correct to say that everything that happens in our life is governed by destiny? If we think that destiny cannot be changed that is the doctrine of fatalism. It leads to an attitude of resignation and passivity that results from the belief that people are helpless against fate.

Let us assume that everything is predestined. Then it must mean that in our past countless lives we did not perform actions by our free will as everything was predestined. But then what determined our destiny in the present life? Logically we must have performed actions with our free will in some past life. If we did so in a past life, we can do them now as well.

We humans are bound by the law of karma, but understand the principle of free will through the example of the bow and arrow in archery. The accumulated stock of arrows in the archer's case slung over his shoulder is the sañchit karma. Similar to this is our stock of karmas from past endless lifetimes. A part of the sañchit karma, is the prārabdh karma that we have to bear in this life. Therefore the arrow that has just left the archer's bow is the prārabdh karma and the arrow in the hand at the moment is kriyamāṇ karma, this is the karma we are free to perform in this life. The archer can decide not to use this arrow, or he can choose to use it either to protect the weak or to harass them. Thus while prārabdh karma is something which cannot be undone and we have to enjoy or suffer its fruits in this life, we have free will available in the form of kriyamāṇ karma. 

Right here in the present moment you possess the free will to perform actions that elevate your consciousness to sublime heights or perform actions that degrade you to demonic existence. The choices that you make in the face of adversity or favorable situations are your own. For this reason, the scriptures say that it is lazy people who blame destiny for their substandard achievements:

Ramayana says - ''While working, don't bring destiny into your mind, or it will make you lazy." If you do, you will start running to astrologers to know what your destiny is, rather than focusing on performing your work properly.

It is a fact that there is an element of destiny. But that should not bother you because God has also bestowed the power of free will to you. You possess the freedom to act as you wish. If you were destined to win a jackpot of a million dollars, you will win it. But beyond that, it is your self-effort. If you work hard, you could multiply it into ten million dollars, and if you develop profligate habits, you could squander it away in drinking and gambling. That would not be decided by destiny; that would be your own puruśhārth or self-effort.

Always remember these words of an Urdu poet,

खुदी को कर बुलंद इतना कि हर तक़दीर से पहले,
खुदा खुद बन्दे से पूछे बता तेरी रज़ा क्या हैं। 

"Make your efforts so strong, that before giving you the results of your destiny, God himself asks you what you want."


Next Blog Article:- Carelessness leads to Downfall of a Devotee!

Monday, September 18, 2017

What determines the Destiny!


 The sheer mystery of how future events unfold intrigues everyone. It is this anxiousness to determine the pattern of future events that drives us to face readers, tarot card readers and palmists. These astrologers reveal the glimpses of our destiny, the things that we will experience in the future.

Now let's say someone hit a jackpot and become an overnight millionaire while someone else lost all his fortune in a stock market crash. In ordinary life, we will attribute both these differing events to destiny. But then the primary question arises if people are destined to experience such events in life, who decides the course of our destiny?

People are of different opinions, some believe that destiny is thrust upon us by an inscrutable power; others believe destiny is a result of our past karmas, while many others believe that destiny is a fallacy of the human mind. Let us understand the concept of destiny through the help of Scriptures. The Hitopdesh states in this context:

"The actions we performed in our past lives become our destiny in this life."

This clearly means that destiny is not something that has come down from the heavens or a horoscope chart that is revealed to us by the astrologers. We have created our destiny ourselves by actions in past births. It is the 'Law of Karma' that determines our destiny in the present life. The law of Karma however is quite complex.

To start with there are three kinds of karmas: sañchit, prārabdh and kriyamāṇ. God has an account of all our karmas in endless lives. This is called sañchit karmas. At the time of birth, we are given a portion of our sañchit karmas, to enjoy or suffer in this life. This is called prārabdh karmas. The prārabdh is fixed, but within this life, we have a freedom to act, and the actions we perform are called kriyamāṇ karma. The kriyamāṇ is not pre-determined; it is in our hands and can be changed as we wish.



Now the results we get in life are dependent on a number of factors, including: 
1. Our prārabdh karmas.
2. Our kriyamāṇ karmas. 
3. The Will of God. 
4. The karma of other people present in that situation. 
5. Chance events in which we happen to be present by accident.

Since we humans are not all-knowing, we cannot fully correlate the results we get with the exact causes behind them. We ignorantly take a myopic view of the results of our present karma and feel bogged down. For example, we notice sometimes that a good person fails and an unscrupulous person prospers. It seems that the law of karma or destiny is not fair and just to humans. But the fact is that the law of karma keeps an account of our past endless lifetimes. Therefore, the good person was not always good; the bad person was not always bad.


"Life is like playing a game of cards. The hand that is dealt to you gets fixed, that is your destiny. But how you play with the cards is not fixed, that's your self-effort."


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Importance and Specialty of the Kirtans written by Shree Maharajji.


Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj

  Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj has written thousands of inspiring verses revealing the Divine pastimes of Radha Krishna. His style of writing is unique in the entire history of saints. First, he begins the chanting of a pada or kīrtan, and as the kīrtan progresses, he keeps adding lines to it, finally bringing it to a consummate close. In glorification of Shree Radha Krishna devotion, he has named one of his principal creations as "Prem Ras Madirā," or "Divine Love Intoxicant." One is lost for words to describe the intensity and greatness of the padas and kīrtans written by Shree Maharajji. It is only by singing the divinely intoxicating kīrtans that we can get a glimpse of the unfathomable Divine love that pours out from the heart of a true devotee of Shree Radha Krishna. 

  The kīrtans conducted by Shree Maharajji are famous for the fervent intensity of devotion that they create in the minds and hearts of the sincere follower, forever binding him or her to the path of God-realization. Whenever Shree Maharajji graces the prayer and Sādhanā hall, the kīrtans reach a feverish pitch as the Lord's names and pastimes are sung in unison by ecstatic voices across the floor. These highly charged kīrtans mesmerize even the most phlegmatic of people, drawing them ever closer to Shree Radha Krishna.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Let us remember what our Guru has taught us?


Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj


He himself had taught us to practice the presence of God and Guru with us at all times. In concurrence with his teachings, let us remain steadfast in the conviction that, although we cannot see him with our material eyes, he continues to stay in our midst, noting our every thought and action, and showering his grace as we strive to walk the path he revealed to us. 

     We should strongly reaffirm our resolve to implement his every Instruction for purifying our hearts and for pushing forward his mission. This is the most befitting way of showing our respect to him

     What they have given to humankind during their stay in our world can never be sufficiently eulogized in words; the whole planet shall remain indebted to them for their gift of Love. We offer our respectful obeisances unto our Spiritual Master Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj, who has opened our eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance, with the torchlight of knowledge.

Happy Guru Poornima!

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